Two Maryville College students win gold at annual ADDY Awards

Two Maryville College students win gold at annual ADDY Awards

April 18, 2019

Two Maryville College students now have ADDY Awards to add to their shelves, walls and resumes.

Senior Nate Kiernan ’19 and junior Lauren McCarter ’20, both design majors, were recognized recently for their outstanding work in graphic design by the Knoxville chapter of the American Advertising Association (AAF). In its 200 chapters nationwide, AAF annually sponsors the American Advertising Awards (“ADDY Awards”), which is considered one of the largest advertising competitions in the world. The Knoxville chapter’s awards celebration was held on March 2 at the Press Room.

Nate KiernanKiernan won three gold ADDYs and one bronze ADDY for his graphic design and animation submissions. McCarter won a gold ADDY for her graphic design submission and won overall “Best in Show” for the student category.

Both submitted their work to the ADDYs with encouragement from Morgan Manning, assistant professor of design. Manning noticed both Kiernan’s and McCarter’s dedication and talent in class and felt their work merited wider recognition.

“I felt they were deserving of recognition beyond the classroom and also had the potential to do well at this year’s awards,” the professor said. “For Nate and Lauren, ADDY recognition opens doors to substantial public recognition and valuable networking opportunities with industry professionals.”

Lauren McCarter'sMcCarter’s winning ADDY design was part of a project for her Design 2 class taught by Manning. Students were challenged to “design for good” by coming up with business or organization that addressed social issues. McCarter created “Shear Together,” a salon that offers equal pricing for both men’s and women’s haircuts. She focused on this because the price difference between men’s and women’s haircuts is often unfair and potentially discriminating to those who identify as non-binary.

McCarter’s design included a logo, an advertisement, various branding materials, an infographic and product packaging. She kept her designs gender-neutral by choosing a monochrome color palate with black, white and grey. Her clean and thoughtful designs are what won her the “Best in Show” title out of all student ADDY entrants.

Since her win, McCarter said she’s felt reassured in her design style.

“With many things I’ve made, I find they turn out sort of simple and often not super colorful,” McCarter said. “That said, I do feel assured that my sort of ‘less is more’ approach can be effective it seems.”

Kiernan won awards for not only design but also animation. Two of his gold awards were for his lyric videos to “See You Again” by Tyler, the Creator and “Sunflower” by Rex Orange County.

His “See You Again” video is reminiscent of old computer interfaces, which is a personal interest of Kiernan’s. The video is creative with a retro vibe that recalls the days of dial-up and AIM. The “Sunflower” video is a bit more modern with fun pops of color and an animated typeface.

“Both projects took me a fair amount of time but are the pieces I’m most proud of,” Kiernan said.

His winning graphic design piece was a poster intended to “raise awareness of the class, gender, and racial inequality found in the design industry.”

Kiernan said that his ADDY recognition felt good, but he hopes that his work is powerful enough to make an impression without formal recognition.

“It has been nice to feel recognized by people who heard about the award, but I would like my work to speak for itself as much as possible rather than just because it has been formally recognized,” he said.

McCarter attended the March 2 awards celebration and found it beneficial to see the local advertisement work.

“It was quite insightful to see what types of designs, ads, and all sorts of video-based works are coming out of the Knoxville area,” McCarter said. “I’m also now aware of some design groups that I hadn’t previously heard about.”

Despite having a smaller art program than some surrounding schools, Morgan believes that recognition of MC students at the ADDYs helps establish the MC as a credible art institution.

“While we are a small program, recognition such as this demonstrates that our students are as talented, skilled and motivated to succeed as any in the country,” Manning said.

According to Morgan, Kiernan and McCarter are great examples for other design students who may be underestimating their abilities or are nervous about submitting their work for a competition.

“I often tell design students to never underestimate their own abilities,” Morgan said. “If a job or award opportunity grabs your attention, always go for it. In my opinion, you usually always get back what you put in, so strive to create the best work possible and opportunities will naturally present themselves.”

Written by Evy Linkous ’16


Maryville College is a nationally-ranked institution of higher learning and one of America’s oldest colleges. For more than 200 years, we’ve educated students to be giving citizens and gifted leaders, to study everything, so that they are prepared for anything — to address any problem, engage with any audience and launch successful careers right away. Located in Maryville, Tennessee, between the Great Smoky Mountains National Park and the city of Knoxville, Maryville College offers nearly 1,200  students from around the world both the beauty of a rural setting and the advantages of an urban center, as well as more than 60 majors, seven pre-professional programs and career preparation from their first day on campus to their last. Today, our 10,000 alumni are living life strong of mind and brave of heart and are prepared, in the words of our Presbyterian founder, to “do good on the largest possible scale.”